Tag: career

Knowing the Future Doesn’t Help

Many years in the past, well before the internet, a kindergarten teacher looked at the row of tiny people sitting on carpet squares. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Everyone started talking at once. Then they each started talking louder in an attempt to be heard. The teacher started clapping out a rhythm. Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap. The students quieted down and joined in the last clap-clap-clap.

“One at a time. We’ll start at this side of the room.”

“I want to be a baseball player.”

“…a doctor.”

“…an artist.”

“…a monkey.”

“…a blogger.”

The teacher paused. “A what?”

Cassandra shrugged. “It’s like a writer, but it will be on the computer, when the computers are all connected.”

Everyone looked at her blankly. “That sounds nice,” the teacher said at last, and the class moved on.

Later, on the playground, a small group of children cornered Cassandra by the slide. “You think the computers will all be connected and take over the world? You’re going to help them?” One of the children said, smirking.

“That won’t happen. You don’t know anything about computers.” Another child said. “Stop pretending to be smart. You don’t know anything.”

Cassandra straightened her shoulders. “I know you are going to go to college, but you’re going to spend the rest of your life paying for it.” She turned to the other child. “You’re going to need braces and glasses by middle school.”

The children shrieked in anger and raced forward together to push her in the mud. When the teacher with recess duty approached, the children ran away. Cassandra stood up with a sigh.

“Do you need to go in and change?” The teacher made a face at the mud.

“I can wait until the end of recess. They’re just going to push me in the mud again soon.”

The teacher patted her shoulder. “You don’t know that. Try to be more positive.”

Cassandra shrugged. “I’m positive they’ll shove me in the mud, as soon as you leave to deal with the kids fighting over the shorter swing.”

“What kids?” Just then, sounds of shouting and crying came from the swing set. The teacher sighed and patted Cassandra’s shoulder again. “I’ll be right back,” she said.

Moments later, Cassandra was shoved back into the mud.

She went inside to change, knowing the teacher wasn’t going to come back. Someone was going to find a dead bird by the fence and cause a commotion that would last for the rest of recess. Cassandra changed and waited quietly by the doors for recess to be over.

At lunch, she warned Jimmy that he wouldn’t like the mashed potatoes. He took a big bite anyways and then spit it all over the table. During painting, she moved her paints and warned Sara to wave her arms less as she talked. Sara still waved her arms and ended up with paint all over her sleeve. At reading time, Cassandra told Mike to be careful walking to his carpet square, and he still tripped and hit his head on his desk.

When the children were lining up to go home, Cassandra paused and tugged on Amy’s sleeve. “It’s going to rain later, and you forgot your coat.”

Amy frowned. “No I didn’t. I always put it in my backpack.” Then she turned around to talk to someone else.

Cassandra sighed and continued to the back of the line. She could see the future clearly. Someday, all of this would be part of a blog post that no one would believe. No one ever did believe her, of course. She was used to it by now.

Flashback Friday: Career Counseling

This story was originally posted on March 17, 2017. I like unusual career ideas. My son, when he was younger, wanted to rule the world when he grew up. He thought he could do a better job of things. I wonder what the career path would be for that?

Mr. Marsh looked up when he heard someone knock on his open door. It looked like the next student had arrived for career counseling.   “Come in,” he said. He checked his schedule. “John?”

“That’s right.” The teenager sat at the edge of his chair with a big smile. Good, that probably meant he had some idea of what he wanted to do after school.

“So, have you given any thought what you’d like to do after next year?” He opened the folder at the top of the pile. “Your grades are good enough to get you into a nice university.”

“No, I think I want to go find the unicorns and live there with them. Like that lady did with the gorillas.” John looked entirely sincere.

Mr. Marsh waited for the moment when his expression would change and he’d shout ‘just kidding.’   It didn’t happen and the silence was beginning to feel awkward. “Um, John,” Mr. Marsh said at last. “Unicorns aren’t real.”

“That’s what they want you to think. Just like the dinosaurs.” John smiled.

Mr. Marsh tapped on his planner with his pen. “Dinosaurs were real. They just all died out.”

“You believe that comet theory?” John raised an eyebrow. “That’s ridiculous. A single comet took out all the dinosaurs?”

“Well, it blocked out the sun and changed the climate, and…”

“And didn’t kill the plants? Or the sharks?” John chuckled.

Mr. Marsh frowned.   “Well, it killed some of the plants.   And sharks are sharks. In any case, they’re all gone and unicorns don’t exist.”

John shrugged.   “Believe what you will.”

“Even if you believe in unicorns, you don’t know where they are. How can living with them be a valid career plan?”

“Finding them will be part of my career, of course.” John looked confident.

“And how do you plan on financing your expeditions?” Mr. Marsh asked. He clicked the end of his pen and prepared to take notes. If John was serious about this, he’d do his best to advise him. Even if he was fairly certain there was a hidden camera somewhere.

“Sponsorships, of course,” John said.

Mr. Marsh sighed.   “How do you plan on attracting sponsors?”

“It shouldn’t be too hard. Everyone likes unicorns.   Of course, the sponsors will have to realize that the unicorns may not agree with me sharing any of my findings.   They are probably hiding for a good reason.” John pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket.

Mr. Marsh leaned forward as John held the paper up. It looked like a list of names written in different handwritings.   “What’s that?”

“My classmates petitioned me to accept sponsors. It’s why I’m considering it even though I don’t think I’ll ever be able to share my research findings.” John folded the list up and put it back in his pocket.

“Then what was your original plan?” Mr. Marsh asked.

“Leprechaun gold.” John smiled. “It will probably be my main source of income. However, I do understand the need people have to be a part of major scientific endeavors. So, I will accept all offers of funding, as long as there are no strings attached.”

Mr. Marsh dropped his pen and leaned back. He ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath. “John, you do know that there aren’t really any leprechauns, right?”

John rolled his eyes. “That’s what they want you to think.”

“Right. Right.   Like the dinosaurs.” Mr. Marsh took another deep breath.

John smiled.   “Exactly.”

“And how do you plan on obtaining this gold?” Mr. Marsh asked. He picked up his pen.

“Oh the usual way.   Follow a rainbow, trick a leprechaun.   You know.” John shrugged.

Mr. Marsh nodded and took notes. “All right.   Well, I see a lot of time hiking and camping in your future. And a lot of time spent outdoors in the rain. What do you think you need to do to prepare for that?”

John pulled out another piece of paper from a different pocket. He smoothed it out. “I’ve written a supply list. Tell me what you think.”

Mr. Marsh held out a hand and John handed him the paper. He looked over the list. “And where do you plan on finding rope made out of elf hair?”

John shrugged.   “Oh, you know. Usual place. Go to a fairy circle, trick an elf.”

Mr. Marsh sighed.

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